Civic Offices Could Go

Civic offices could soon be flats

Eastleigh council boss Keith House has outlined his plans for implementing the cuts announced in the comprehensive spending review – plans which could include selling the current civic offices as part of an austerity drive.

In a statement delivered to council on Thursday, Mr House sought to assure members and residents that the council could budget for a reduction in the government grant without loss of services or increase in taxation.

Mr House revealed that:

  • Cuts in Government grant would equate to a loss of £2.5 million or 18% of net budget
  • There would be a reduction in staff including some compulsory redundancies
  • The council would freeze council tax for 2011/2012 to gain a government grant equal to 2.5% of Council Tax
  • Although no services would be cut, quality of service might be compromised – Mr House said they would no longer strive for excellence
  • He believes the council can increase its revenue by borrowing money to buy office space to rent out – and to this end announced they will be purchasing Eastleigh House in upper Market Street
  • They will be borrowing even MORE money to try and bail out another stalled capital project – River Side business park

In a separate statement Mr House confirmed that the council had no other plans in place for the 6000 home Botley SDA which was cancelled in July and that it could take up to 2014 to come up with an alternative.

Mr House hoped they could bridge the gap by encouraging landlordism, arguing that having 5000 tenants on 6 month short term assured tenancies creates a ‘mobile workforce’.

Mr House also said that the council was considering ways of ‘downsizing for times of austerity’ and this included the possibility of selling the current civic offices and moving back into central Eastleigh where the council already run an office.

“We can choose between modernising our existing building and improving a building in the town centre” he said.

He indicated that the civic buildings could make way for housing.

The matter will be considered by the Joint Scrutiny Panel in November before going before the full council the following month.

So the plan appears to be to protect services and fund a council tax freeze by borrowing money? This money will be ‘invested’ in offices and hotel projects which will generate revenue. Provided the underlying businesses are recession proof – what could possibly go wrong? What do you think?

Photo: ©S.Slominski

Click here to read Mr House’s statement on the spending review

Click here to read his satement on the Civic Offices

  4 comments for “Civic Offices Could Go

  1. Susan Smith
    October 25, 2010 at 9:38 am

    So, the people on Eastleigh’s housing list are to be abandoned to 5 years in the private sector. I know families where the constant upheaval in moving from tenancy to tenancy is having a devastating effect on the children .Rootlessness and a general sense of not belonging is a factor in delinquency. Shame Keith House did not have the backbone to stand up to the handful of NIMBY voters in his Hedge End ward.

  2. Matthew Myatt
    October 25, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    Mr House, I have a simple way of saving nearly £500,000.00 a year without it effecting any frontline services and the need to purchase a new building.

    Close down the loss making ‘Point’ and move the council BACK into the Town Hall, a building that Eastleigh Borough Council, already own.!!

    It’s so simple, either lose a bunch of silly dancers farting about in tutu’s and costing us the local tax payer huge amounts of cash each year or cut front line services that see children neglected, more homeless families and old people trapped as prisoners in their own homes..

    SIMPLES.!!

  3. Peter Jones
    October 26, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    In a modern society it beggars belief that a local authority cannot house it’s constituents. Disgraceful 🙁

  4. peter stewart
    November 2, 2010 at 10:33 am

    The EU wants another £435 million from us, on top of the £15 billion it already gets as “contributions”. These austerity measures are totally unnecessary. By leaving the EU and resuming normal trade we would save £125 Billion p.a. according to the Tax Payers Alliance. Does nobody see we are almost at rock bottom? How much more will the British people be willing to pay for the prvilege of being governed by a bunch of totalitarian European tin gods?

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